Posts Tagged ‘wines from California’

If I only had $100…I would buy…

Posted by Julie

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

Australia is renowned for it’s big juicy fruit driven Shiraz so it was refreshing to see a release that features Aussie whites.  But don’t be shy to venture further when shopping at LCBO’s Vintages this month.  There is an extremely handsome collection of some old tried and trues wines and of course also features wines from the Mediterranean.

Any chance your plans have you traveling to Europe anytime soon?  There are some wines in this release that are bound to put you in the mood for packing for a trip!

I’d say…this shopping list definitely puts me in the mood to pick up one of everything.

Cheers to all good things and the arrival of Spring,



If I only had $100, I would buy at Vintages…


Madison Ranch Chardonnay 2014

Napa Valley, California
$22.95 (Vintages #441113) 14.5% alcohol

Plush aromas of baked cake and tropical fruit. A full bodied elegant white wine loaded with ripe yellow apple and banana flavours, rich, creamy and buttery, a classic California Chardonnay.

With a soft seam of acidity, there is some vanilla and lemony sweet spice on the end, a full-bodied Chardonnay not for those who like a wine with style.  Absolutely delicious.




Chapoutier Tournon Mathilda 2014

Victoria, Australia
$17.95 (Vintages #401398) 13% alcohol

Aromas you could catch across a room! Expansive fruit with floral overtones, soft white blossoms, honeysuckle, almost perfumed tropical fruit in this blend of Viognier and Marsanne white wine. Juicy peaches and pears on the palate, soft, easy and smooth, it’s the type of wine that everyone would like, inoffensive yet delicate, loaded with nutty fruit flavours.

Enjoy on it’s own or with lighter fare, it would also be perfect with summer salads.




Cotnari Fetească Albă 2014

DOC Cotnari, Roumania
$12.95  (Vintages #012088) 12% alcohol

Cotnari is the most famous Romanian wine producing region located in eastern Romania very near the Moldovan border. Fetească Albă is the most widely grown and best known grape varietal. I love discovering a new wine at such an incredible price point. This golden coloured nectar is slightly off-dry with tropical fruit aromas. It’s fruity; there’s pineapple, ripe pear and honeysuckle on the creamy palate but also got some mandarin and petrol on the smooth finish. It’s an easy wine wine sipper or would be a great match for spicy foods.




Henry of Pelham Family Tree Red 2014

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #247882) 13.5% alcohol

The Speck family has yet another reason to be proud. On the nose are aromas of the unmistakeable Baco Noir grape, a little smokiness, then layers of cherries and nutty flavours from the time spent in French and American oak for 17 months. Aside from Baco Noir is the classic blend of Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Loads of personality as these varietals complement each other. Bone dry and juicy, well structured tannins; bring out a roast of beef or grilled ribs, it’s a beauty.


Papale Linea Oro Primitivo Di Manduria 2013

DOP, Puglia, Italy
$18.95 (Vintages #261784) 14% alcohol

Way back in July 2013, I discovered this gem and wrote on it in my If I had $100 blog.  Papale is made from the Primitivo grape vinified in the Puglia region. In 2008, 115 bottles of the vintage  was purchased by the Vatican following the election of Pope Francis in 2013.

I call this my Osso Bucco wine. Any chef knows that if you go through the labour of love to prepare Osso Bucco, you want a great wine to accompany.  Deep crimson bold with personality of firm ripe cherries, plums and peppery spice highlight the palate. Full-bodied, a little chewy and deep berry flavours intermingle with noticeable tannins that linger forever on the smooth finish. I would serve this dinner to the Pope!



GRAND TOTAL – $91.75


BTW…Since I came in well under budget, I thought I’d recommend a great medium bodied Portuguese wine called Animus 2014 from Douro at $12.95 a bottle.  Great for burgers, pizza or those mindless nights that call for something cheap and cheerful – it’s a steal and I’m picking up a few.  (Vintages #385302).  If you find an extra $4.70 your grand total is $104.70.


If I only had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, May 13th, 2016

In the 2016 merry month of May, LCBO Vintages brings back all kinds of “Customer Favourites”. In the May 14 release, there’s a varied collection of wines from around the world that you will just LOVE!

LCBO Vintages Magazine May 14These are tried & true bestsellers that come with our Vintages customers’ seal of approval.  There are also some great new picks from New Zealand to help us give summer a push.  Believe me when I say…this is the time to go looking for new favorite wines.

I found a little trivia on the month when I was scouting on the internet. Things I did not know is that 1) May was named after the Greek goddess Maia, of fertility and 2) in any given year, no month ever begins or ends on the same day of the week as May does. How’s that for (useless) information.

But it’s a beautiful month and everything with legs is out there walking, running, cycling etc…and speaking of legs, there are some great wine picks here and some even have legs!


If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

Saturday May , 2016


Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2015Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, South Island
$24.95 (Vintages #677450) 13.5% alcohol

Year after year “Dog Point” produces first class Sauvignon Blanc’s.  Pungent aromas of lemon, lime, a little ginger that follows through on the palate. It’s light to medium weight delivering great fruit flavour. There’s some grapefruit on the aftertaste that pulls it all together with a tangy white peppery finish. Clean and fresh, it never disappoints. It’s one great sipper.


Fielding Rosé 2015Fielding Estate Rosé 2015

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (Vintages #53421) 12.3% alcohol 

For those of you who follow my column, you know I am a big fan of Fielding wines and this rosé is the best ever.  And so pretty in PINK, a lighter colour than other years; I really do prefer the lighter coloured rosés, they just seem to have more “class”. There’s a hint of sweetness in the off dry candy floss taste but it’s very smooth and edgey with enough acidity to make it interesting while delivering culprits of tart rhubarb and ripe strawberries.  It is a lovely rosé. I hope winemaker Richie Roberts made enough to last the summer.  There’s a case of this on my list.


Conundrum Red 2013Conundrum Red 2013

25th anniversary edition, California
$24.95 (Vintages #294298) 14.2% alcohol

A fabulously deep ruby red and the label on this bottle tells that the Wagner family has gone all out to celebrate. There is outstanding intensity to this big robust red. Rich ripe dark berries that are generous in flavours make it extremely palatable. Soft tannins offer good balance and a delicate mix of spice at the end make this year’s Conundrum special indeed.  With the usual food groups that demand a red wine, this is superb.


Zolo Reserve Malbec 2013Zolo Reserve Malbec 2013

Mendoza Fincas Patagonica, Argentina
$18.95 (Vintages# 81091) 14% alcohol 

Aged 14 months in American and French oak barrels makes this Malbec even more delicious than other years. Ripe nose of violets, blueberries and black currants, it’s dark and inky in colour.

The palate is full-bodied with fine-grained tannins , a touch of mint on the finish; it’s just begging for some rare grilled steak.


Ardal Crianza 2010Ardal Crianza 2010

DO Ribera del Duero
Bodegas Balbás, Spain $17.95 (Vintages #167601) 14% alcohol

A winemaker can hardly go wrong with a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, certainly two of my favourite varietals. Intense dried black fruit notes, full bodied and nicely polished. There is good volume and it just flows on the palate with tannins building into a spicy bramble, peppery aftertaste.  One great choice for spicy burgers.


Grand Total = $101.75    

(oops, I changed coats so I am looking in my pockets for spare change)




If I only had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, October 16th, 2015

I’m not sure about the rest of you but I find my $100 does not go nearly as far as what it used to. Wine inflation, or is it that my opportunity to taste many products is getting the better of me?

LCBO Magazine Oct 17The LCBO Vintages release of October 17 focuses on Barolo (Italy) and Napa (California) full-bodied wines at full-bodied prices. The reasons are varied from the outstanding property value where the grapes are harvested, to the methodology spent by the winemakers in producing such rich full-bodied wines.

Having just returned from Ireland, I was a little squeezed for cash for this month, but I am very pleased in offering three 3 great whites, a port and a red ruby with my last $100.00. and just a little change. Perhaps still on holiday mode, I overspent but not by much.



If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday October 17, 2015

Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port 2009Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port 2009

Unfiltered, DOP
$21.95 (Vintages #87551) 20% alcohol

THE SCOOP: I had forgot how delicious this Port can taste, talk about desert! It is like a liquified Christmas cake with a little chocolate on top. How is that for a tasting note? Aromas of caramel, toasted nuts and raisin pie, some ripe blackberry, creamy and luscious on the palate with loads of volume. The long, smooth, slightly peppery finish trickles warmly down the throat sending you back for one more sip, oh my it’s good. I hate to use an old cliché, but with some stinky strong cheese it is a match made in heaven.


Napa Cellars Chardonnay 2013Napa Cellars Chardonnay 2013

Napa Valley, California
$23.95 (Vintages #225342) 14.2% alcohol

THE SCOOP: For those of my friends who love a big full-bodied Chard., this one is for you.

The melange of tropical fruit is over the top, reminiscent of my baked pear and peach crisp with some toasted almonds. It’s creamy and buttery with concentrated caramel and vanilla on the lengthy finish. Not for the faint of heart, this Napa-style classic white wine has loads of finesse. It could easily stand up to a bbq’d steak or with some grilled swordfish or salmon.


Creekside Reserve Viognier 2013Creekside Reserve Viognier 2013

VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$26.95 (Vintages #264168) 13.5% alcohol

THE SCOOP: A sensational Viognier and only 150 cases, so put it on your list. Delivers layers of soft tropical fruits, ripe yellow apple and peaches, wild honey, and a touch of spice. Ever so slightly off- dry but with a perfect seam of citrus acidity to round it out. Beautifully balanced, medium weight, smooth as silk and one taste keeps you coming back for more. Serve it slightly chilled and don’t spoil it with food – there’s just too much goodness in this bottle.


Zolo Torrontés 2014Zolo Torrentés 2014

Mendoza, Argentina
$14.95 (Vintages #183913) 13.8 % alcohol

THE SCOOP: Bright pale yellow bursting with a field of white flower aromas mingled with lychee and lemon-lime zest. Clean and fresh on the palate, lots of citrusy fruit flavours, a lovely zip of acidity with a tantalizing zippy finish. It would be fabulous with chicken Alfredo, lemon linguine, fish and chips or a lovely sipper on its own. One great price-point for a value packed wine.


3 Rings Shiraz 20133 Rings Shiraz 2013

Barossa Valley, Australia
$18.95 (Vintages #15495) 15.2% alcohol

THE SCOOP: Huge dark fruit fruit; blackberries and blueberries, a little cassis and some green pepper at the end. One solid Shiraz with fine tannins underlying all the berry flavours ending in a peppery dried fruit finish. This beauty has length and depth. With some lamb burgers or chops it would be lip-smacking.There’s a lot of wine here for that price point.



GRAND TOTAL – $ 106.75 (oops)



If I had $100 I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

Posted by Julie

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

No surprise that the LCBO Vintages release of Oct. 3 focusses on LINK wines for Thanksgiving. Regardless of whether it’s turkey, ham, fish or pork, the wines I have chosen will accompany them all. Now how’s that for a scoop?

LCBO Vintages Magazine Oct 3I recently read that the planting of grape vines for winemaking in Ontario dates back to 1811 and were planted on the Credit River in Cookeville, just west of Toronto. However, the first winery in Ontario was established on Pelee Island and to this day the Pelee Island winery offers some great general list products. And while I am offering some trivia, did you know that you can buy a wine holder for a bicycle that clasps to the bike frame? Talk about pedal power… but enough.

Whatever you’re cooking this Thanksgiving all these wines are saying “pick me” and I guarantee they will be good to the last drop.

Give thanks and count our blessings,


If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday October 3, 2015

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir sparklingGloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs

Carneros, U.S.A.
$29.95 (Vintages #925735) 12.5% alcohol

THE SCOOP: The pale pink, copper colour alone is enchanting. Fine sparkling mousse in a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Creamy and delicate flavours of stone fruit and a hint of brioche, a little fruity. Delicate stone fruit flavours, a hint of brioche and almost a mineral flint in the aftertaste. It’s one beautiful sparkling wine that will take you from start to finish of any meal.


Pierre Sparr Lieu Dit Altenbourg Riesling 2010Pierre Sparr Lieu Dit Altenbourg Riesling 2013

AC Alsace, France
$16.95 (Vintages #906016) 13% alcohol

 THE SCOOP: I suppose lip-smacking good does not tell you very much about a wine but that is exactly what describes this aromatic wine. The term “lieu dit” on the bottle is used to describe a small vineyard site within a larger appellation. The grapes must come from that particular village or appellation to have this term on the bottle. Lots of fruit flavours; green apples and a pinch of honey but bone dry and smooth. A simply delicious white wine.


Gassier Sables d'Azur Rose 2014Gassier Sables DAzur Rosé 2014

Cotes de Provence, France
$15.95 (Vintages #33621) 13 % alcohol

THE SCOOP: If anyone is having salmon for Thanksgiving, this lovely pale pink colour is bound to match. Floral aromas, ripe red berry flavours on the palate, some citrus on the finish and a great seam of acidity that keeps you coming back for more. It’s a dry, classy and elegant rosé wine, again from start to finish, no one will be disappointed.


Rosewood Select Series Pinot Noir 2012Rosewood Select Series Pinot Noir 2012

VQA Niagara Escarpment
$21.95 (Vintages #112177) 13% alcohol

THE SCOOP: Soft aromas of red berries and a tinge of forest floor in this red wine. It fills the palate with tastes of sour cherries but smooth and satiny. It’s well balanced with gentle tannins integrating with the fruit flavours. Good typicity of Pinots made in the Niagara region, soft and delicious.


In Situ Reserva Carmenere 2010In Situ Reserva Carmenère 2012

Aconcagua Valley, Chile
$14.95 (Vintages #37952) 14.5% alcohol

THE SCOOP: This was a Gold medal winner at the 2014 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Although Carmenère is originally from Bordeaux, it has become Chile’s iconic grape. Loads of blueberries on the palate, full bodied and rich with plums, liquorice and a little menthol in the mouth. Delicious and easy possessing soft tannins and finishes on cocoa and spice. I can’t believe the price point of this red wine. Alright, it might not be first choice to accompany fish, but it’s a sure crowd pleaser for those red wine drinkers.


GRAND TOTAL – $ 99.75



If I had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Susan

Friday, March 20th, 2015

One of the sure signs of spring is when California rolls into town for their annual Wine Fair. Always a date on the wine event calendar, this year they are stopping in at Ottawa on April 10 and Toronto on April 13. Aligned with their arrival, the LCBO stocks some extra special California wines in Vintages with the latest release.

March 21 Vintages catalogueI was away on holidays (unfortunately not California!) so Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins did the hard job of tasting the wines before they hit the store shelves. Here are her wine tips that will put a spring in your step and some smooth reds – from California and further afield – that will keep you warm on those days when winter seems that it will never ever leave.

Here is our shopping list…if I only had $100 to spend at Vintages this week.




If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages
March 21, 2015


March 21 Cotes du RhoneGuigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2013, France

AC Côtes du Rhône
$18.95 (Vintages #290296) 13.5% alcohol

Consistently and reliably tasty, this versatile white wine is wonderfully aromatic – spring time notions of white flowers, scents of peach, citrus and tropical notes drift from the glass. Dry, medium bodied, it’s smooth and ripe, notes of spice and a replay of luscious stone fruit bathing the palate. Well balanced, with a pleasing touch of bitterness on the finish, this is a great value. Enjoy with roasted spring chicken stuffed with lemon & herbs.


March 21 Chateau BellevueChâteau Bellevue la Forêt 2011, France

AC Fronton
$13.95 (Vintages #354134) 14.5% alcohol

This is an unbelievable price! Made primarily from Negrette grapes (an unusual grape variety), then blended with the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, this red wine has an earthy note—reminiscent of freshly pulled beets—that drifts over the aromas of berry and plum, licorice and spice. Dry, full bodied, the concentrated dark fruit flavours wash across the palate, tinged with a replay of licorice and spice, while that that earthy note persists. Firm in structure, clean in texture, the wine offers a long-lasting and fruit-filled finish. Serve with duck confit and be wowed, or splash some into your glass with leftovers.



March 21 JoyaBisquertt ‘La Joya Gran Reserva’ Syrah 2012, Chile

Colchagua Valley
$16.95 (Vintages #325407) 14.5% alcohol

This Syrah is an excellent value red wine – period. Good complexity, a well-defined structure and great depth of fruit. On the nose, there are lifted aromas of spice and pepper, dark berries and cherry, with just a whiff of dried herbs. Dry, full bodied, it’s plush and warm, loaded with powerful fruit flavours, notes of chocolate and toast, and a warm, fruity finish. Want me to go on anymore? For this price, serve this as your house red while the snow melts.


March 21 YalumbaYalumba ‘The Guardian’ Shiraz/Viognier 2010, Australia

Eden Valley
$21.95 (Vintages #396499) 14.5% alcohol

How to warm up on a chilly night? Look no further for this plush wine with great concentration of fruit flavours. On the nose, cherry, berry, kirsch, spice and vanilla burst through. Dry, medium-full bodied, the intense berry fruit is balanced by a certain freshness to the texture and firm ripe tannins. Tasty, spicy and smooth, get into the habit of firing up the BBQ and enjoy this red wine anything off the grill.


I have a confession to make…

Being on a budget of $100, I wanted to make sure that there was some money in the bank to add a California wine to this shopping list.  No matter how hard I try, I sill came over budget by $8.  Hopefully you will forgive me and return enough empty wine bottles to make up the overage!


March 21 RidgeRidge Three Valleys 2012, California

Sonoma County
$35.95 (Vintages #652875) 14.2% alcohol

Principally Zinfandel, this blend is of both grape varieties and terroirs to showcase great depth and intensity of aromas and flavours. Opulent fruit is showcased—dark berry and black cherry—mingling with sweet notes of spice and vanilla, with a dash of cracked black pepper. Dry, big and bold, this red wine has polished tannins and plush texture that make it dreamy. Finishing long and warm, it will be a great match for barbequed ribs.


GRAND TOTAL: $107.75


If I had $100…I would buy these wines at Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, October 10th, 2014

This week it really is all about TURKEY! The bird and the European country – I visited Turkey this summer and it’s truly amazing. Before I get into the new wines at Vintages this weekend, I want to share with you a couple of wine pix.

Turkey wine cellar by Julie StockI worked in Ankara, Turkey, this past summer and visited a city called Cappadocia – known for the best wines in the country. It is a cave city and the wines I tasted were crisp and light. Here are some pics of wines stored in caves (that is my husband and I on the right)Turkey blog Julie & Doug in wine cellar. It was pretty amazing.

I’m excited about getting back to my blogging so pull out your pen & paper (or your iPhone) and get ready to make your shopping list of wines to serve with your turkey feast this weekend.

We’re covering a  lot of geography in this time around – from Sonoma, California to Piedmont, Italy, offering a great array of wines for the Thanksgiving table. For those of you who love big buttery chardonnays – this release is for you! I  hope you will have a chance before you sit down with friends & family for your big feast – or any dinner – to stop in at the LCBO and pick up some real finds this weekend.

Whatever you are enjoying to give thanks, Happy Thanksgiving!


If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
October 11, 2014


LCBO Vintages magazine Oct 11


The  Domaine Félibre Givréice Cider 2012

Quebec, Canada
$22.95 (LCBO Vintages #393611)

Unfortunately, this cider was unavailable for tasting but I’d planned to include this in my $100 basket since I think cider is such a festive fall drink.  Not to mention, a perfect match for Thanksgiving desert with pumpkin pie or pear crisp. It does not break the bank – so I hope you’ll pick one up too!


Benziger Chardonnay

Benzinger Chardonnay 2012

Sonoma County, California
$19.95 (LCBO Vintages #34777)  13.5% alcohol

Pale straw in colour with aromas of tropical fruit, a little buttery on the taste but lemon loaf fresh.  This white wine is not too heavy and has a clean fruity aftertaste. It would be a perfect accompaniment with turkey, mashed potatoes and trimmings. Very yummy indeed and would be nice just on its own.


Pella the Vanilla Chenin BlancPella the Vanilla Chenin Blanc 2012

WO Stellenbosch, South Africa
$14.95  (Vintages# 389619) 12.5% alcohol

Chenin Blanc is what I call a glamorous grape varietal. Its’origins are in the Loire Valley in France where it goes by the name of Vouvray.  In South Africa it is called “Steen”so if you see this on a label and wonder what it is, now you know.  I find it to be an extremely versatile white grape for pairing with food.

Usually medium bodied such as this one with tropical fruit aromas, lots of pear overtones, a little honey but bone-dry. The wine was aged for several months in oak barrels but takes on very little oaky flavour. There’s some minerality on the aftertaste which adds interest and complexity. It’s different and delicious and a fabulous price point. It would be nice with before dinner snacks and definitely with a ham or turkey  dinner.


Fontanafredda Raimonda Barbera d'AlbaFontanafredda Raimonda Barbera D’Alba 2012

DOCG Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #23135) 13.5% alcohol

Smooth, subtle and sexy this aromatic red wine is plush with aromas of licorce and plums, with some blackberries to mellow the flavours. I found it a little earthy on the finish, tasting of pine needles with a little leather, medium to full-bodied and another great accompaniment with pasta, lasagna, turkey, duck or chicken.


Domaine de SahariDomaine De Sahari 2012

AG Guerroune, Morocco
$16.95 (Vintages #92825) 13% alcohol

It’s fun to find a new wine from the not so usual culprit countries and this one caught my eye. Confident, ripe red and black fruit aromas, very flavourful, bone dry with medium tannins. There’s a little leather, toast and dusty earth on the finish. This is one delicious tasting red wine with a pretty attractive price point. It would be great with a tagine or roast lamb.


ContradictionThe Contradiction, Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre 2010

Clare Valley, South Australia
$24.95 (Vintages #377077) 14.5% alcohol

You can never go wrong with a blend of the above, 50% Grenache, 26% Shiraz, and 24% Mourvedre. This is like ripe luscious cherry pie in a glass, robust, full bodied with undertones of spice and vanilla, a lovely long finish of earthy dark fruits blended with a little pepper. It’s sheer delight on its own or with some grilled meat, a beauty, elegant wine.




If I only had $100…I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Susan

Friday, September 26th, 2014

The September 27 LCBO Vintages release features New World Ground-breakers, wineries known for their innovative practices and outstanding wines. As suggested in the catalogue and demonstrated by the founders of these historic wineries, “the wine visionary starts with an unplanted vineyard and creates something amazing.”

LCBO Vintages magazine Sept 27

Visionaries in the wine world

Included in this feature is the iconic Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon from California’s Wagner family ; Chile’s Errazuriz, where Eduardo Chadwick is pushing the cool-climate envelope in the country’s coastal regions; and Argentina’s Catena, where Nicolás Catena and his daughter Laura are producing vibrant, concentrated wines from their high-altitude vineyards. South Africa presents its cool-climate gem, the Hamilton-Russell Pinot Noir, Cloudy Bay is recognized for putting New Zealand on the wine world map, and, of course, Australia’s success with the Shiraz grape variety is featured in Two Hands wines from McLaren Vale.

…and ground breakers close to home

Canada has not been left out! You’ll find Niagara’s Rockway Vineyard’s well-balanced ‘Small Lot’ Meritage and Organized Crimes’ Sauvignon Blanc among the mix. Don’t miss the creamy Chardonnay and powerful, concentrated Cabernet Franc from the south Okanagan’s Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, recognized as a leading producer of quality B.C. wines. Hardly surprising, these wineries exemplify long family traditions of commitment to the land and excellence in winemaking.

A Passion for Portugal

The old world is not to be forgotten, as the secondary feature focuses on Portugese wines—the country is not just known for Port—including well-known light and fresh Vinho Verde (vinified from the Alvarinho grape) and a series of intense, flavourful blended red wines produced from native grapes made famous by Port, such as Touriga Nacional, Tinto Roriz and Touriga Franca. Portugal has a long history of grape growing and wine making; it exported wine to the Roman and British Empires! And the Douro is one of the oldest designated wine-making regions in the world. Take advantage of the great value to be found among these wines, one of which is included in our selection.

Ready for Thanksgiving?

It’s just around the corner so this release ensures that you have an array of wines to serve with ham, turkey, roast beef or a vegetarian option. You can choose from flavourful Riesling, ripe Pinot Grigio, lush Chardonnay, earthy Pinot Noir, classic Chianti, or robust Cabernet Sauvignon. For something a little different, consider the a Touriga Nacional or a fresh Stoney Ridge Cranberry Wine!




 If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

September 27, 2014


Henry of Pelham Estate RieslingHenry of Pelham Estate Riesling 2012

VQA Short Hills Bench, Ontario
$17.95 (Vintages 557165) 11.5% alcohol

Pale straw, this white wine offers lovely mineral notes mingling with orchard fruit and citrus. Dry, medium bodied, dashing clean acidity underlines the flavours of lime zest, ripe apple and pear. The fine silky texture and crisp refreshing finish make it a must-have wine, and a great choice for Thanksgiving ham or turkey. Pick up a few bottles!


Bestheim Pinot GrisBestheim ‘Réserve’ Pinot Gris 2012

AOC Alsace, France
$15.95 (Vintages 315143) 13.0% alcohol

This off-dry award winning white wine is loaded with rich stone fruit and melon aromas and flavours. The ripe fruit is nicely balanced by a backbone of lively acidity, while a hint of sweet grapefruit and a touch of pithiness add a lift on the finish. Enjoy chilled with gently spiced Asian dishes or ginger-maple marinated salmon.



Versado MalbecVersado Malbec 2013

Luján de Cuyo, Argentina
$25.95 (Vintages 317008) 14.8% alcohol

Canada’s Ann Sperling and husband Peter Gamble are the magicians behind this big, bold Malbec. Inky, opaque, the basket of aromas includes a bevy of black fruits, sweet spice and notions of cedar. Dry, full bodied, the palate is awash with plush, velvety black fruit, while fine-grained underlying tannins and fine acidity create balance. There’s warmth on the finish and appealing notes of vanilla, toast, dried fruits and white pepper adding to the intensity of the wine. Savour and serve with rare grilled meats.



Rockway Estate ‘Small Lot’ Meritage 2011

Twenty Mile Bench
$19.95 (Vintages #388262) 13.0% alcohol

Evocative and complex aromas of sweet black fruits, vanilla, earth, smoky toast, spiced rose and herbs tantalize the nose. Dry, medium-full bodied, this blend of the Cabernets and Merlot flows across the palate like velvet, offering power and harmony, a fresh texture and supple tannins to balance the savoury ripe fruit, and lovely notes of dark chocolate and dried herbs through the long, flavourful finish. An excellent value, this finely crafted candidate for the cellar will pair well with full-flavoured meat dishes.


Quinta da PancasQuinta de Pancas Seleccão do Enólogo 2010

DOC Lisboa, Portugal
$18.95 (Vintages #380931) 13.5% alcohol

This award-winning blend is dense and inky, offering tantalizing aromas of vanilla, smoke, fresh black berry and dried fruits. Dry, medium-full bodied red, it’s smooth and velvety in texture, substantial and rich on the palate.  The ripe fruit flavours are framed by ripe tannins and fine acidity, and enhanced by well-integrated oak. Notes of exotic spice extend through the full-flavoured finish. Serve with hearty meat dishes.







If I only had $100, I would buy at Vintages….

Posted by Debbie

Friday, August 1st, 2014

The August long weekend marks the middle of the summer and if you haven’t already taken time off for holidays, you might be conjuring up ideas of last minute quick getaways.

There is a trip that you can take that does not require a lot of planning.  Enjoy the journey of different places (that may not even be on your bucket list) by uncorking a bottle of wine from that destination.  This is kind of like a worldwide staycation where you only have to hop in your car (or your bike) & head to the LCBO.

The latest Vintages release is featuring wine regions in California & France’s Loire Valley, yet dig deeper into the catalogue or shelves and you will find interesting wines from different places. Put your passport away & grab a corkscrew, a wine glass, then get your taste buds ready for an adventure.

Want to add a little spice to the trip?  Bend the spine on your favorite recipe books & whip up some summertime favorites on the grill. After all, you have a long weekend!



If I only had $100, I would buy these wines at Vintages…

August 2, 2014


Whispering Angel RoseCaves d’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé

AC Côtes de Provence, France
$23.95 (Vintages 325076) 13.5% alcohol

Summer is not summer without at least one bottle of Rosé wine in my fridge.  This one is a classic French Rosé made with an interesting blend of grape varieties – some that I even have never heard of before – Grenache, Rolle (Vermentino), Cinsault, Syrah & Tibouren.  Dry & refreshing with elegant floral & berry aromas that carry onto the taste. TIP: save yourself a return trip to the LCBO & pick up two bottles.


Chateau Ksara Blanc de BlancsChateau Ksara Blanc de Blancs 2012

Békaa Valley, Lebanon
$16.95 (Vintages #744805) 13% alcohol

This is one of the top selling white wines in Lebanon and at this price, why not give it a go?  Like a travel guide, the Vintages catalogue offers the backstory about this winery to enhance your enjoyment of this wine adventure:

“Founded in 1857 by the Jesuits, Ksara is the country’s oldest, largest and most visited winery. It is no surprise, with such an investment in Lebanon’s winemaking heritage, that Château Ksara should also be a leading voice in modernizing winemaking in Lebanon. Their vineyards are situated at an average of 1,000 metres and are fed by melting snow that runs off the slopes of the surrounding mountain ranges. The valley and the slopes create a unique micro-climate that enjoys considerable diurnal variation – with cool nights offsetting the heat of the day, keeping the wines fresh.”

A refreshing white wine blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Semillon and 20% Chardonnay grapes. Sip on its own or with salads, cheese or BBQed fish, pork or chicken.


Loan Semillion 2005Loan Wines Special Reserve Semillon 2005

Barossa Valley, South Australia
$16.95 (Vintages #301127) $16.95

Yes, a white wine that is already 9 years old…and it’s traveled half way around the world to land in your shopping cart! At this price, they are giving this wine away.  Unoaked and made with the not-that-well-known Semillion (a variety that it is often used for blending) there are notes of beeswax, rich spices and juicy fruits (think pears, peaches and apple crisp). Bring out the cheese & charcuterie plate as you uncork this wine!


Seghesio ZinfandelSeghesio Zinfandel 2012

Sonoma County, California
$29.95 (Vintages #942151)

When I am traveling to wine regions, I buy wines rather than postcards.  I enjoy sharing stories about my trip with friends back home over a bottle of wine that I discovered along the journey. On a recent trip to Sonoma, I stumbled across Seghesio Winery.  I have vivid memories of this neat place, complete with the coolest picket-fence posts – shaped into wine bottles.  I confess that I popped more than one of their wines in my suitcase (please don’t tell). Deciding which red Zinfandel to bring home from California is always a challenge, so when memories of places that I visited during this trip appear on the shelves at Vintages, it is hard to resist.

Big, bold & black are the best descriptors of this Zin.  Aromas of blackberry, black cherry & black licorice waft from the glass that coats your mouth with each sip.  Jammy texture makes this a joy to drink.  A BBQed steak would be a great match as the grilled taste of this red wine will enhance the smoky taste in the wine. 



A few others to consider, yet it will take you a few loonies over the $100 mark. These two reds would be good to add to your tasting trip, especially when you fire up the BBQ. 

Layers red wine blendLayers Shiraz/Tempranillo/Mourvèdre/Grenache 2011

Barossa, South Australia
$17.95 (Vintages #138883)



SanSanta Alicia Gran Reserva Carmenereta Alicia Gran Reserva de Los Andes Carmenère 2011

Maipo Valley, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages #93831)





If I only had $100…I would buy at Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, June 6th, 2014

While LCBO Vintages helped us celebrate Mother’s Day showcasing sparkling wines and rosés, for Father’s Day there are some high end whiskeys, cognac, and Italian  wines too.  That’s quite the collection of treats to help Dad celebrate his day.

TLCBO Vintages June 7he Italian whites were not available at the time of my tasting but generally I think most men, prefer a hearty red wines to match steak or ribs and there are some fabulous wines to match for the barbecue. I did notice a return of a red wine that I featured last December – Grant Burge, The Holy Trinity Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvedre 2011 (Vintages 236257) at $29.95 a bottle, and was tempted to do it again, but like this one, there are so many big bold reds from Australia, I felt I should  take my own advice – expand and try something new. (Truth be told, I did pick up a bottle though!)

If you give your Dad the winning lottery ticket for Father’s Day tip him off that Macallan Sherry Oak 25 years old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky can be purchased for $999.95. (Vintages #179150). Yes, you read that right, there is no typo in the price – Three 9”s after the $ sign.

Whatever you give your Dad & however you celebrate Father’s Day, here is my top picks to use as your shopping list at Vintages.

Cheers & enjoy!


If I only had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
June 7th, 2014 

Don David Reserve Torrontés 2012

Cafayate, Salta, Argentina (Michel Torino Estate)
$13.95 ( Vintages 727677) 13.9%

New to Vintages, this Torrontés was a Gold Medal winner at the 2013 International Wine Challenge. Medium bodied in weight, a little citrus, some ginger and spice, dried fruit flavours, bone dry and lots of guts. Don’t be fooled by the price, this is a white wine that would hold up to meats as well as fish. Fresh, fresh, fresh.


Carpineto Dogajolo RosatoCarpineto Dogajolo Rosato 2013

IGT Toscana, Italy
$15.95 (Vintages # 699934)  12.5% alcohol

Remember that old saying “real men eat quiche”?  Well I’m here to say that “real men drink rosé” too!  There is nothing that says summer like an engaging pale cranberry coloured wine in a big bowl shaped wine glass. This Tuscan rosé is bone dry made from the classic Chianti grapes: Sangiovese and Canaiolo. Aromas of red berries, some vegetal overtones, light and smooth and just slips down too easily wanting you to come back for more. A great companion to any summer fare; pasta, salads or on its own. The bottle also has a beautiful label which tells me if someone has gone to such lengths to produce an artistic label, something delicious inside must match. Try serving this wine with some chicken enchiladas and Caesar salad and everyone will not only love the wine I guarantee they will pick up the bottle to view the label…just you watch!


Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon. jpgGeyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, U.S.A.
$19.95 (Vintages #343467)   13.8% alcohol

Geyser Peak Winery is over 125 years old, so it’s no wonder they have had lots of time to perfect their Cabernet Sauvignon.  Not new to Vintages but new to me, this red wine is a power house red packed full of black currant aromas and flavours. Noticeable tannins but are very smooth, with a little chocolate, tobacco and pencil shavings on the finish. Proud structure and weight in this wine.  I’ve got this bottle ready for Father’s Day BBQ….who is picking up the ribs?


Domaine Tournon MathildeDomaine Tournon Mathilda Shiraz 2011

Victoria, Australia
$19.95 (Vintages# 327395) 13% alcohol

In the Vintages catalogue it states that wine critic Robert Parker awarded this wine 94 points.  Strangely there was no accompanying tasting note. I am little intimidated as to what he may possibly have said!  In this red wine I picked up lots of spice and black pepper combined with big robust juicy red and black berry flavours. There was also some campfire, leather and woodsmoke and a long blackberry finish. I liked the combination of the spice and fruit and did not find it too fruit forward like some Shiraz wines that just taste like berry juice. A beaut! Serve with a rack of lamb would score points with Dad.


Konzelmann HeritageKonzelmann Heritage Reserve 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$26.95 (Vintages # 149179) 13% alcohol

Herbert Konzelmann is a pioneer in the Ontario wine industry and has received dozens of accolades both locally and internationally. Thankfully the family has continued his traditions of premium wine-making. This 2012 reserve red wine is a product to be collected. Rich and dark garnet in colour, it has a heady fragrances of ripe red berries, some plum with nuances of chocolate, coffee and cherry on the finish. There is something about the taste of a well made wine, the flavours and structure just integrate on the palate. Refined and elegant and a perfect match for a prime rib or some T-bone steaks.


GRAND TOTAL – $96.75


Flowers Wilt. These wines will WOW your Mom

Posted by Julie

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Reminder: Mother’s Day is Sunday! Good news is that the LCBO Vintages release for this weekend has all kinds of wines that any mother who enjoys wine, would love to uncork.  Personally, I have had fun introducing my mother to new wines, and get quite a kick out of her comments when tasting an aromatic or fruity wine that some grapes naturally boast.

LCBO Vintages May 10I also think of wines that are fun to pair with Mum’s favourites, so the red and white wines I have selected from this release could pair with anything from fish or a roast, down to strawberry shortcake with the dessert wine.

I am not a fanatic about making sure that every wine pairs perfectly with food,  I believe that it all comes down to individual tastes and frankly, if someone wants to have a Riesling with a grilled steak, who am I to argue?  However, I do try and gently nudge some folks into what I think would be better suited to certain foods because when you find a great match, it really can be a taste of heaven.

To all Mum’s, I hope you have something delicious in your glass to enjoy on Sunday!


If I only had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
May 10th, 2014 


Joseph Cattin Brut Rose Cremant d'AlsaceJoseph Cattin Brut Rosé Crémant d’Alsace

Alsace, France
$17.95 (Vintages# 264572)  12 % alcohol

Not all bubbles are created equal and this delicious sparkling wine is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes. Light, delicate with cherry berry flavours bursting from those bubbles. Talk about pretty in pink, this wine WOWs  Serve in a tall flute, you can practically visualize yourself sitting on a balcony overlooking vineyards in Alsace.


Crusher ViognierThe Crusher Viognier 2012

Wilson Vineyard, Clarksburg, California
$16.95 (Vintages #361964)

This beauty is new to Vintages. It is aromatic and fruity and invigorates the palate with flavours of pineapple, peaches, sweet ginger spice, medium bodied and smooth. A white wine that makes for a lovely afternoon wine but I have in mind that it would be a great companion with ham and scalloped potatoes.


Anselmann Siegerrabe SpatlaseAnselmann Edesheimer Rosengarten Siegerrebe Spätlese 2012

Prädikatswein, PFALZ, Germany
$15.95 (Vintages# 910554) 9% alcohol

Years ago when my husband and I were holidaying in Salmon Arm, B.C. we stumbled upon a winery called Larch Hills that made a wine from the Siegerrebe grape. It was so delicious that we ordered a case to be sent home. This delicate light style dessert wine is made from the rarely heard of Siegerrebe grape.

This unique white wine has white blossom and honey aromas with the latter following through on the palate, slightly citrus with apricots, very delicate and subtle. A perfect dessert wine, so different from dare I say the usual late harvest or ice wine chasers. With such low alcohol, this could be enjoyed in the afternoon with some strong cheese, but the flavours should be enjoyed on their own.


Gerard Bertrand Cote des RosesGérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Rosé 2013

AP Languedoc, France
$19.95 (Vintages # 373985)

Not your every day rosé wine that’s for sure, bright ripe strawberry flavours and colour, a perfect afternoon sipper, light to medium- bodied with aftertastes of tart rhubarb and a little pepper, great acidity which makes for a fabulous luncheon companion. Almost forgot to mention that it comes in a great looking bottle, so I’ll be putting this one on the table.


Quail's Gate MerlotQuail’s Gate Merlot 2011

British Columbia VQA Okanagan Valley
$26.95  (Vintages # 169961)  14.5% alcohol

An elegant red wine, slightly perfumed aromas of violets and dark fruit. Smooth as silk on the palate with a little chocolate, spice and dark plum flavours. Full-bodied and would be heaven served with a prime rib, although I hate to wait for a special occasion, this wine is deliciously special.